Councils have multiple roles in relation to the sale, consumption and impact of alcohol in their local areas. As licensing authorities, they are responsible for authorising the sale of alcohol by licensed premises in accordance with the four licensing objectives, a role that extends to working in partnership with businesses, the police and others to ensure that alcohol is enjoyed safely and responsibly.
Since 2013, when responsibility for public health returned to councils, they have also assumed responsibility for reducing the harmful health impacts of alcohol misuse on individuals and communities. The challenge for councils is to find the right balance between these different objectives.
There is scope for developing innovative approaches in this area, and many examples of projects seeking to address these objectives. One such project is an approach to tackling the harmful effects of strong and low cost alcohol products through ‘Reducing the Strength' campaigns.
Reducing the Strength refers to initiatives designed to tackle the problems associated with street drinking by removing from sale low price high-strength alcohol products through voluntary agreements with local retailers.